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Scotty Barnhart: Say It Plain (2009)

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After many years as part of the supporting cast, Scotty Barnhart is taking that step forward as lead actor. The trumpeter mixes old and new, in varying styles, with his debut, Say It Plain.

Barnhart spent 17 years as featured trumpet soloist with the Count Basie
Count Basie
Count Basie
1904 - 1984
piano
Orchestra and was also part of the Marcus Roberts
Marcus Roberts
Marcus Roberts
b.1963
piano
Quintet. A graduate of Florida A&M University, he is now professor of jazz trumpet at Florida State University.

Say It Plain is an evenly divided set of originals and standards. Fellow trumpeters Clark Terry

Clark Terry
Clark Terry
b.1920
trumpet
and Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
b.1961
trumpet
appear on selected tracks. The core group consists of Barnhart, Rodney Jordan on bass, Leon Anderson Jr. on drums and Todd Williams on saxophones. The rest of the ensemble features a variable lineup of pianists, including Roberts and Ellis Marsalis
Ellis Marsalis
Ellis Marsalis
b.1934
piano
, guitarist Rick Lollar and a few others.

The title song is a playful piece that begins with Barnhart using a mildly muted effect. As the piece picks up, the trumpet grinds and growls through some sassy phrases. Lollar and pianist Bill Peterson follow with solos, while Anderson checks in some emphatic pings on the cymbals during the latter. In one sequence, it appears for a moment that Jordan has the solo, backed only by Peterson with Herlin Riley on tambourine, but as it picks up, Riley is leading.

"Haley's Passage," dedicated to author Alex Haley, features Barnhart on the flumpet, a hybrid of a flugelhorn and a trumpet. The melody is a harmonious duet between Barnhart and Williams, who plays soprano sax on this selection. Lollar contributes a brief solo, but it's Barnhart who carries most of the piece, with Lindsey Sarjeant taking over piano duties.

"Jnana," honoring trumpeter Dave Monette, is one of several energetic pieces. Roberts carries the piano duty. Anderson and Jordan are engaging in the background. Barnhart cranks up the juice during his lead, setting up a dazzling solo by Roberts, matched in intensity by the bass and drums. Williams contributes a tenor sax solo.

The styles of Say It Plain vary from swing to blues to Latin and even a bit of Dixieland. In addition to his original songs—one co-written with Terry—Barnhart delivers first-rate renditions of such classics as John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
's "Giant Steps" and Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
1917 - 1993
trumpet
's "Con Alma." With a solid band and stellar guests, this is a debut that whets the appetite for more from Barnhart.

Track Listing: Giant Steps; Say It Plain; The Burning Sands; Haley

Personnel: Scotty Barnhart: trumpet (1-3, 5-12), flumpet (4); Clark Terry: trumpet (12), vocal (12); Wynton Marsalis: trumpet (7); Todd Williams: tenor sax, soprano sax (1, 3, 4, 8); Ellis Marsalis: piano (5, 11); Marcus Roberts: piano (1, 3, 8); Lindsey Sarjeant: piano (4); Bill Peterson: piano (2, 6, 9, 10, 12); Bruce Barth: piano (7); Rodney Jordan: bass (1-6, 8-12); Greg Williams: bass (7); Leon Anderson Jr.: drums, whistle (1); Herlin Riley: tambourine (2); Etienne Charles: percussion (7); Marion Felder: percussion (7); Rick Lollar: guitar (2, 4, 12); Jamie Davis: vocal (9).

Record Label: Unity Music

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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